Welcome to the offseason folks. You know, the time of year when star players seasons are over and the vague IG/Twitter posts start flowing that immediately lead to reckless speculation. One of my favorite times of year if we're being honest. If you're a Blazers fan, you should probably stop reading. The wounds are probably still fresh, up 14 last night against the Nuggets with your season on the line only to score 14 points in the fourth quarter and just like that, your season is over. That's tough. Dagger threes by Austin Rivers and Aaron Gordon would haunt my dreams.
Which brings us to this Dame IG post. You know the storyline by now. Everyone, especially the fans of teams that might stink right now
will beg that Dame has finally had enough in Portland. Since Dame showed up in 2012-13, the Blazers have 4 first round losses, 2 second round losses, 1 WCF appearance, and missed the playoffs once. They may end up firing their coach this offseason. Who knows if they give Norman Powell the bag, so he could be out. At 30, who knows what Dame wants.
The thing is, he's arguably the most loyal superstar the league has. Maybe like him and Curry. Time and time again Dame has gone on record saying he'll never leave Portland. That he's perfectly fine never winning a ring, that he would never join a super team in order to get one. That's what makes that IG post so newsworthy. In an offseason that will be filled with speculation, when have we ever seen something like that from Dame? Maybe I'm just not remembering it, but it feels like in previous years it was always the opposite. Maybe you think the entire internet is looking to much into this, which is probably true, but that's the way things go in the NBA offseason with social media. Just like with Dennis Schroder removing all the Lakers shit from his profile. This is how NBA players communicate with us normals.
So let's talk specifics for a second. The Blazers technically don't have to do a damn thing. Dame's 4/176M extension begins in the 2021-22 season. They don't have to trade him or worry that he'll leave for nothing. He's under contract until 2025. So that alone makes it extremely unlikely that they move him. At the same time, there are a lot of questions for the rest of the roster. Jusuf Nurkic does not have a guaranteed deal for next year. Powell is a free agent. So is Melo, Kanter, Collins, Giles etc. Remember, their 2021 1st round pick is going to the Rockets and their 2021 2nd is going to the Grizzlies. It's not like they have a ton of draft capital available. In terms of cap space for this summer….they have none.
You could have a situation where the franchise goes to Dame and says look, we need to smash the rebuild button. They then ask if he would be open to a trade. Given that he's signed long term, the haul for him will be massive. Think of what Harden just went for and he only had 2+1 left. As far as we know right now, there is no player option in Dame's extension. Whenever it comes to extremely loyal players like Dame, I always think back to what KG said. He wished he wasn't as loyal to MIN and maybe got out a little earlier.
Remember, there was this groundwork that was put out at the end of April
So who knows what happens. I just know that as a Blazers fan, any sort of cryptic IG post from your franchise player is never something you want to see. Part of me wants to see Dame stay with one team his whole career, the other part wants my favorite team to find a way to trade for him. The chances he leaves are small, but as we've seen over the years sometimes you just never know what this league is going to throw at you. A top 5 PG and MVP candidate switching teams would be a massive domino. Now we just have to wait and see how it all plays out.